Baseball: Trumbull blanks Masuk High in season opener

Trumbull High’s baseball team turned a one-run nail-biter in the late innings into a convincing 8-0 triumph over visiting Masuk of Monroe in the season opener on Saturday afternoon.

Pitcher Ben Fero was dominant in his six innings of work, striking out six batters and allowing just three Masuk hits and walking one.

Fero worked around a pair of hit batsmen in the sixth inning with help from his defense.

Trumbull left fielder Justin Nyarady fielded the ball on a hit by Masuk’s Chris Nicolia and threw home, where catcher Kevin Bruggeman applied the tag on Josh Wittenberger for the second out of the frame.

A soft liner to first base ended the inning with Trumbull on top 3-0.

Fero did not need much assistance, especially after working around a hit, error and walk in the first. Following an error to begin the second, Fero fanned the side.

The right-handed Stonybrook-bound allowed just one batter to reach (leadoff batter Gianno Merlonghi’s single to start the third) during efficient third, fourth and fifth innings.

“Ben’s our veteran pitcher and he showed it today,” Trumbull coach Phil Pacelli said.

The Eagles plated five runs in the bottom of the sixth and Brandon Bottino toed the rubber for the final frame and shut the door with a perfect inning.

Bruggeman and Chris Brown both collected two hits and two runs batted in.

Tim Lojko and Ben Micinilio each had a pair of hits.

Chris Briganti singled and scored a run and Brian Hance singled in the second to help Trumbull to a 1-0 lead.

Lojko reached on an error to start the fifth and Bruggeman doubled to make it 2-0.

The third run scored on an error, a dropped pop fly.

In the sixth, the bottom three in the order set the table for the top trio to expand the lead.

Hance walked leading off, Jay Chiappetta reached on an error and Beau DeMelo loaded the bases with a bunt single. Lojko singled to make it 4-0 and reload the bases. Bruggeman’s first-pitch double knocked in a pair, and Brown followed with a two-run single to cap the scoring.

Pacelli was pleased with how his players rose to the occasion.

“A lot of young guys were stepping into the box today for their first varsity at bat and I think they showed they can put the bats on the ball,” Pacelli said.

The Panthers had beaten the Eagles in their meetings each of the prior two seasons, doing so behind strong pitching: 3-0 and 4-1.

“Anytime you can get a win against Masuk you’re doing something good,” Pacelli said.

Trumbull will host Bunnell High on Monday afternoon.